“Acting is all about that truth.” ~Lawrence H. Robinson
Lawrence desires of one day becoming an entertainer met with the timing of destiny in 2008 while attending college majoring in Communications. As a native of the City of Brotherly Love; Philadelphia, PA., Lawrence is no stranger to artistic culture. Being raised in an extended family structure allowed Lawrence to spend a lot of quality time with his grandmother who he credits his entertainment awareness to.
Lawrence H. Robinson conversed with UrbGasm.Com to give us the details to the unscripted lines of an aspiring actor.
“I couldn’t sing and I couldn’t dance so I knew that wasn’t it, I just always knew I had a calling to do something bigger than just the norm. My grandmother was always been big in the entertainment world. She would get all the magazine, watch all the soaps knowing everyone’s name. She was that influence in my life to become an actor because she kept me surrounded with entertainment ever since I was a kid.”
Theater was an elective for Lawrence while in school until one day “he really liked it.”
“There was this exercise called “The Phone Call” and you had to call someone who meant something to you or just any situation you may have been going through. Some people called their parents because they were upset, others called their friends just to have a casual conversation; just different scenarios. I remember making a phone call to my dad and it was kind of emotionally for me; yeah, that was the moment.”
Although Lawrence is walking in the footsteps of many notable African-American actors in Hollywood there are still very prevalent struggles as an aspiring Black male actor.
“Yes, I must say there are still boundaries and it is harder. When we audition there is a “type” that they are looking for. For example, 18-25 or 25-30 African-American 6’2″ or 5’10″ etc. There are so many people auditioning for these roles making it very hard because when I look at the submissions for roles 9 times out of 10 they are looking for Caucasians more than African-Americans. It is hard for a new actor to get in the industry.”
With the existence of these barriers in the entertainment industry how important is it for a new actor to be represented by an agent? Is it easy to get an agent?
“It’s sort of complicated and it depends a lot on you as the actor/actress. When I first started acting I didn’t have an agent at all. There are certain websites you can use; some of the sites are free, monthly subscription or pay per submission that you can use if you have a resume and head shots to get auditions on your own. It is the same thing with an agent it’s just they know how to fix it up if need be. If your head shots are not good or your resume needs tweaking they can help you with that bettering your chances on getting call backs. If you are a smart person, you have strong drive and dedication you can make it because the people don’t know you, they only go by your resume and head shots.”
“It’s definitely hard to get an agent in New York and Los Angeles. It is very good when you find an agent that is bi-coastal because they can submit your resume on both coast. A lot of agents don’t want to see you unless you have experience because these days a lot of people think they can become an actor/actress because they are attractive but 9 times out of 10 everyone in this industry is attractive. You have to have a good resume and you may have to know someone, also people take workshops where an acting coach introduce you to agents at the end of a showcase. It is kind of good because the agent see you fresh right after class and you don’t have to have a resume.”
The road that Lawrence is on to reach his dreams is not one paved with gold bricks. As a full-time father and recently losing his employment at times Lawrence has to take the alternate route in making the dream work.
“I didn’t have the $200 to work with an acting coach to be introduced to agents but I build my resume off my previous work from home and in theater and submitted myself on the websites I mentioned early. I received calls for feature background commercials and little projects allowing me to expand my resume. I then researched open calls online that I could attend between three and four o’ clock, trying to sell myself to get an agent and that’s what I did.”
The pursuit to becoming an entertainer can be very expensive, Lawrence states “food and travel alone will kill you.” Depending on your location can also affect your finances in pursuing an acting career.
“Before I moved to New York I was living in Philadelphia, PA so I would use $25 to get to and from NY on the train. I was easily spending $60 including food to attend an audition that I may never receive a call back for. So yes, it can be expensive. But its nothing different from everyday life like going to work. You have to pay for transportation, food etc. It’s the small things that are expensive in life so I wouldn’t want anyone to be scared to purse becoming an actor/actress because it’s truly just like working in everyday life.”
“Acting class is what’s makes you an actor” ~Lawrence H. Robinson
Just as in life we go through different lessons to make us more aware of who we are. We began to embrace the abilities to create our existence. With acting, Lawrence feels it’s important to know your gift but just as important to groom your talents continuously.
“Acting classes are very important. Some people think they can take a couple of classes and then stop; I am in classes every weekend and every Monday. Acting class is what’s makes you an actor/actress. You need to be in class! I attend Actors in Christ which is a free support group for Christians that exposes us to actors and actresses that are doing well in the industry that teaches us techniques and other skills on how to better ourselves as Christian actors. Acting is all get about that truth. If you don’t know how to get to your truth and connect to your past using it to become a character you are just reading lines. You can’t possibly understand how actors get so deep and pull from different areas of their life if you are not in class. That’s what’s makes Tyler Perry so great because he pulled from a lot of women in his life to make one character that he calls Madea.”
Lawrence details a lot of his everyday life on the social network Instagram. Recently, he posted a video about a book he was reading by DeVon Franklin: Preacher, Producer, Author and husband of Meagan Good.
“Yes, I am a big believer in faith. I borrowed the book Produced by Faith from one of my best friends who wanted me to read it. The book alone is a very strong book. With him being a producer and in the industry it hits home. He speaks on how not to lose your faith in the industry. A lot people in this industry feel as though they have to do certain things that are negative to get to where they want to be because you are definitely introduced to it. People in the industry makes it appear that they want to help you but in turn they want something from you. Therefore, in the book he keeps you grounded with saying if you keep your faith in God and walk with God through your entire career you’ll be fine; you’ll get there if you hold on to your faith. That’s why I recommend that book to my fans and followers.”
On the struggles of being a Christian in the industry…
“Yes, there is a struggle. You might get invited to a party and automatically there are drugs and alcohol. People may want to hang out with you but they all have different motives than just hanging out.” People want more than what they say.”
“Not just as a Christian, actors/actresses also struggle with their characters. As we discussed in Actor in Christ, you may get a character who is not a Christian or who may not do Christian things. I look at it as I am that character but that is not who I am. Many people don’t understand that a lot of Christians turn down roles because you have to come from your truth to become a particular character. You never know you may get a character that using a lot of profanity or into homosexuality and may Christians don’t want to tap into that. Even when you are not on set at times you are still in it; this character who you’ve become is who you are until the movie or assignment is over. Therefore, a lot of Christians don’t want that because even though it’s acting you have to somewhat become this person and people identify us with our role we are playing.”
With all of this passion, drive and knowledge bottled in this one being one would ponder on the people Lawrence consider role models.
“I have two different kind of role models right now. I love Will Smith because he is from West Philly. I think that he is amazing because he can play any role, i think he is a great Dad; he is my ultimate role model. However, right now the person’s career i admire is Lance Gross. His career steps is like my own with modeling, commercials, and videos. Next, he appeared on sitcoms then to movies. I think that he is doing really great as a young actor.”
With every answer to my many questions Lawrence never failed to mention his most important role and that is one of a Father. Lawrence gives us insight on what its like to be a single father to Aiden.
“My son’s mom and I were high school sweet hearts although we didn’t attend the same high school. We were young and in love as well as living with each other; therefore, when I found out I was going to be a dad it was great. I really thought we were going to be together for the rest of our lives. I had just finished high school not too long ago, I was also working a full-time job, she was pregnant; I honestly thought this was going to be my life. It was around the moment I wanted to be an entertainer but it wasn’t my passion yet. All I knew I was in love and I had a baby on the way; it was great! “
Do you have full custody of your son?
“We share custody with our son. I get my son every weekend. If any barriers come in between that because of my aspirations my parents help out a lot. Because we [the mother of Aiden and Lawrence] are older now we make it work and it works well.”
It appears that you have Aiden trailing in your footsteps of becoming an actor; how did you decide on this venture for your young son?
“The crazy thing is I didn’t. Aiden has a lot of personality and gets a lot of attention because everyone thinks he is cute. Aiden is his mom and me put together so he can be very moody. When he doesn’t want to take a picture of him he doesn’t but when he wants a picture he wants you to take it of him. Because of that I was scared to get him into acting because I didn’t know how he was going to act but one of my agencies said they wanted to work with him, I agreed. He took head shots and they submitted him to be a model the next day. One of my favorite photographers did a photo shoot with Aiden and now he is auditioning in New York and Los Angeles; that’s how it all started.”
Lawrence says that he will always be in full support of Aiden’s positive ambitions in life even if it is not in the direction of acting when he becomes of age. With his faith rooted in his beliefs, Lawrence knows that he will reach his goal in the entertainment business allowing him to provide for his son; however, being a very involved father does impacted his continual pursuit in becoming an actor.
“Definitely it does. My son is my everything. I am in a crossroad right now. I need to move to L.A. in February but I am trying to make it work where I am because Aiden is only two hours away. I like the fact that I can go home whenever and see my son but if I move to L.A. I know it is going to be different. It’s a very tough decision. At the end of the day I would classify myself as a print and commercial actor but I have been auditioning a lot for television and film because that is what I really want to do. I have been auditioning for Singles Ladies and Tyler Perry and they’re all in L.A. not in New York. I really need to be in L.A. but I am trying to make it work by flying back and forth because I really don’t want to leave my son.”
There are things about Lawrence’s drive that people do not know about him.
“I sacrifice a lot, especially with my son. I was working full-time for US Airways since I was 18 and just lost my job of six years not too long ago because of attendance. I would have to call out or come in late because of auditions. There were times I was landing in LA for auditions getting off the plane and my job calls me saying I was supposed to be at work even though a co-worker was supposed to be working for me. I also remember I was driving to work and there was the casting for BET’s 106 &Park host. I received the call and I turned around, called out of work, my mom took me to the bus and next thing you know I am on my way to New York for a five minute audition then head right back to Philly. I can’t tell you how many times I have done that. I can’t say I work like a slave but when I get there I am going to feel it. I am going to think about all those times and the things I did to get to where I need to be.”
Quoting “A man who works like a slave eats like a king”
Lawrence’s sacrifices and relentless drive has not been in vain. He has a very fluent resume in commercial acting; which is a significant step in his journey to Hollywood. He has booked with Macy’s for the Sean Combs campaign, Timex Father’ Day Campaign and also as Officer Nelson on Law & Order SVU.
“The Macy’s project was my first national commercial with residuals that was booked with an agency. I was on hold for a week and I was wrecking my brain over it. it was a great experience to be there. We had Tracy Morgans barber to cut our hair, they dolled us all up with all the accessories; they had us looking really ‘Diddy’. Plus it was great food on the set. As for the Timex project I booked that myself and I worked with two models who were booked with agencies. That’s why I say if you are driven you can do it with or without an agent. I didn’t know was going to be as big as it was; in 45 malls across the world but I was and I was the face for it. I am grateful!”
“It was pretty cool working on set with Ice T and Mariska and to see how they work because they are so in character. Although I didn’t have any lines I was in a conversation as they cracked down a case and it was great. It was a learning experiencing plus they have god food.”
Lawrence just maybe greedy. Though I have not included all the times he has mentioned food in this interview just know he has made me hungry while conversing with him. (we laugh together)
“When I was younger I was so materialistic. My mother would give my brother and I $200 and I would spend my money on clothes but my little brother would eat good then he wold shop. Now that I am an aspiring actor, I am experiencing the sacrifices and not worrying about wearing labels I appreciate food. So when I can eat good and its free; yeah, Law & Order has that good food, it’s amazing.”
Being on set with such famous people Lawrence has somewhat become immune to seeing stars especially living and working in Philly, New York and L.A.; however, it’s this one time….
“When I first moved to New York I was doing background work for this film titled ‘Gods Behaving Badly’ with Phylicia Rashad; everyone has looked up to her along with Loretta Devine as our moms; therefore, seeing Phylicia Rashad on set and in character was amazing, I couldn’t stop watching her. Also, growing up I really liked Alicia Silverstone and she was always in that movie so being on set with both of them was really cool. Being star struck is not something I am but if I see Will Smith maybe I will change my mind.”
As an aspiring actor of course Lawrence has his motion picture picks he deems his favorites which are ‘The Best Man’ and ‘Troy’. Two different types of film but it does detail the dimensions he possess. However, he has his views on the new trend of reality television shows.
” I look at reality TV as it is taking all real actors/actresses jobs away. Yes, I do wish we would have more sitcoms like the Cosby’s Show from back in the day but that is not in. I don’t knock anyone’s hustle because people are getting paid from it but I just don’t support it. I feel it is all scripted drama. The producers are making these situations happen. They are putting people in the room that do not like each other, then giving out a topic, next turn on the camera and the people OD, selling themselves for their 15 minutes of fame, I have faith to know I am going to get to where I need to be anyway so I don’t have to hop on the wave of reality TV. I refuse to fight and act crazy and risk my chances of booking something greater because I gave in to reality TV.”
Lawrence has experienced his ups and his downs; his callback and his rejections but that is all in the making of a major motion picture star. From being a simple elective class to his driving passion, Lawrence has preserved to make his way in front of the camera. His deep dimples and perfect smile, his beckoning eyes and perfect physique will soon captured a worldwide audience. The emotion-filled African-American aspiring actor Lawrence H. Robinson (H is for handsome) will definitely captivate our hearts because from the first hello to the friendly goodbye I longed to embrace his success and being one of his #1 fans. I can’t only wait to see him in action on the big screen… Tyler Perry or Salim Akil (hint hint).
“Major love and respect to Nafessa Williams she’s my role model.”
Find out more about this amazing man on the web at:
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Official Website: http://www.lawrencehrobinson.com
Want the unedited audio for this interview please email urbgasm@gmail. (for professional/promotional use only)